The All India Tennis Association (AITA) Tuesday hit back strongly against the charges levelled at it by tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi saying the player was free to take a legal recourse against the association.
Hiranmoy Chatterjee, senior executive committee member of the AITA, said that the association was justified in sidelining Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna from playing in the national team till June 2014.
"The AITA is not perturbed by Bhupathi's threat of a legal action. We have gone by the rule book. The decision was taken by the ethics committee according to rule 36 (A2) of our constitution," Chatterjee told IANS over phone from Kolkata.
Bhupathi and Bopanna had defied AITA's decision of asking them to play with Leander Paes for the 2012 London Games. They refused to play with Paes to play together at the Games.
Chatterjee said Bhupathi "wants to be a selector, player and an administrator at the same time."
"He selects himself and then decides with whom to play. If he has to do everything then what is the selection committee there for. We have sent out a strong signal that indiscipline will not be tolerated," said Chatterjee.
"Mahesh is now saying he doesn't know where to complain. But he was well aware where to voice is displeasure when he was asked to play with Paes during the Games," he added.
Bhupathi is a fiery press conference in Mumbai criticised AITA's decision of imposing a two-year ban on him and Bopanna.
Bhupathi accused AITA president Anil Khanna of taking the advantage of his rift with Paes. Bhupathi also said that he would "explore legal options" against the AITA.